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Businesses Programming The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: Jobs For Geeks In the Business/Financial World? 181

Posted by timothy
from the do-your-best-gordon-gecko-impression dept.
First time accepted submitter menphix writes "Hi there! I'm a software engineer in the bay area. I will be moving to Hong Kong where my wife works shortly. I understand that there will be a lot less opportunities to work for software companies there than in the bay area, but they do have a lot of business/financial companies in HK: investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, you name it! So I'm thinking maybe it'll be easier if I transition to work for those companies. Since I got my B.S. and M.S. both in computer science, I have no idea what those 'Wall Street jobs' are like, so I'm just wondering what you guys know about jobs in the business/financial world for geeks? Has anybody made the jump before?"
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Ask Slashdot: Jobs For Geeks In the Business/Financial World?

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  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Monday June 25, 2012 @03:55AM (#40436163)

    Hi

    I have made the jump to the financial world. The short of it, there are plenty of people of IT people in the business so it is hard to get in now. But if you have talent and have something you can probably make it. Though if you have zero business knowledge of the financial world that is not good. You do need business knowledge. Ask me anything in specific if you wish...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm a recent BA grad, was considering a technical M.S. but I realized you don't do that if you want to be wealthy.
      Should I just go Harvard M.B.A. or Stanford M.B.A (to be closer to the tech startup) if I want to go finance I.T. and become wealthy?

      Caveats
      1.) "Rich" is less then "wealthy", which is what you get for your ~50-80k programming lacky jobs you get with that degree, before moving to middle management or a architect position
      2.) While you can get wealthy with a technical M.S. but you typically invent

    • there are plenty of people [sic] of IT people in the business

      I fail to see your point. OP has two computer science degrees.

      • Sorry, I thought he's a software ENGINEER.

        • by catmistake (814204) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:12AM (#40437253) Journal

          Sorry, I thought he's a software ENGINEER.

          In the sense that an engineer is actually someone that designs, builds or maintains engines, machines, or public works, i.e. works with physical things, software engineering is, I believe, a dubious term invented to inflate the already important job of and boost the esteem of programmers, the way the term desktop engineer boosts the importance of the job of and the esteem of IT support technicians, or the way the term sales engineer boosts importance of the job done by and the esteem of salesmen or salespersons. While computer science certainly includes the discipline of programming, a programmer isn't necessarily ever doing any computer science, and I have never understood exactly what they allegedly are engineering (magnetic fluctuations on spinning disks? electron gauntlets?). Should we also refer to our barbers as hair engineers? Are journalists really news engineers? What I think happened is at some point in the mid-1990's computer science enrollment was down, and engineering was as popular as ever, and the computer science departments used a bit of clever marketing to increase enrollment for their programming tracts.

          • by ranton (36917) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:35AM (#40437911)

            In the sense that an engineer is actually someone that designs, builds or maintains engines, machines, or public works, i.e. works with physical things, software engineering is, I believe, a dubious term

            So you are taking a term that originated before the advent of the digital world, and arbitrarily restricting it to apply only to "physical things"? If such a wide range of fields such as chemical, civil, and mechanical engineering can bear the same term, I see no reason why software is any different. The word engineering has evolved so much over the past few hundred years that even a drastic change would not be unprecedented. An engineer started out simply as an operator of machines, but more recently replaced the phrase "mechanic arts" in last hundred years or so to obtain its more common modern meaning (some colleges still have "Engineering and Mechanic Arts" departments). Perhaps you also disagree with calling simple mechanics engineers? (aka mechanical engineers)

            I believe that it is very important to distinguish between computer scientists, software engineers, and programmers. Just like it is important to distinguish between physicists, mechanical engineers, and CAD operators. Whether we use the word engineer or not is fairly arbitrary, but I think it fits quite well. Software engineering is a young field, and best practices are far less mature than other fields, but that will improve over time.

            • I believe that it is very important to distinguish between computer scientists, software engineers, and programmers.

              I know the difference between computer science and programming, and I mean no disrespect, but I do not know the difference between a programmer and a software engineer. If you are inclined to do so, please enlighten me.

              • I believe that it is very important to distinguish between computer scientists, software engineers, and programmers.

                I know the difference between computer science and programming, and I mean no disrespect, but I do not know the difference between a programmer and a software engineer. If you are inclined to do so, please enlighten me.

                I usually try to make it clear that I'm *not* an engineer, but I'll offer a devil's advocate POV: A programmer writes instructions for the computer to follow, where a software engineer might employ (and specify) design patterns and principles, test coverage, etc. In essence, a software engineer should be someone who employs techniques to at least attempt to qualify what will break, when, and under what conditions. That said, without a professional organization its silly to apply a guild name to your profe

              • by ranton (36917)

                I know the difference between computer science and programming, and I mean no disrespect, but I do not know the difference between a programmer and a software engineer. If you are inclined to do so, please enlighten me.

                I used the analogy of mech. engineer vs CAD operator because I think it is basically the same as the distinction between software engineer and programmer. The software field is far less mature than any engineering fields, so the difference is far less clear. A coworker of mine once said, "If you can't easily tell the difference between a software engineer and programmer, you are a programmer [or not in the field]."

                In my opinion, in 20 years you probably will have very distinct job titles, with very differ

                • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wSLACKWAREorf.net minus distro> on Monday June 25, 2012 @12:30PM (#40440057)

                  I used the analogy of mech. engineer vs CAD operator because I think it is basically the same as the distinction between software engineer and programmer. The software field is far less mature than any engineering fields, so the difference is far less clear. A coworker of mine once said, "If you can't easily tell the difference between a software engineer and programmer, you are a programmer [or not in the field]."

                  Or it can be the difference between a technician and a professional.

                  Programming is a trade job - you can go to a trade school, learn to do your Java or C++ or whatever and graduate and go on coding it up. Someone else would've drawn up your tasks and you basically execute on it. (Simllar to most other trades like construction, plumbing, electrician, etc).

                  Ditto technicians - they know how to operate the equipment to do what's requested (be it say an X-Ray or other medical device, or CAD operator or machinery). However they are working under someone else's orders - a doctor, a draftsperson/architect, etc.

                  A professional is the one who coordinates it all and tries to come up with solutions - they ask an X-Ray tech to do an X-ray and that's it. It's up to the doctor to go an interpret the X-Ray. It's up to the architect to ensure the CAD operator has drawn what was designed. It's up to the software engineer to verify that the coded item performs to specifications and operates as designed.

                  The confusion comes in because to be a good professional, one should've done what they are asking others to do - if nothing more to understand the capabilities and limitations. Plus, they too are often required to do the work at times (an architect will often do their own CAD drawings, especially on more complex tasks that would otherwise require a lot of work to explain, or to simply see if something will work). The real problems come in when someone who hasn't done the job starts asking for pie-in-the-sky demands.

                • by mattack2 (1165421)

                  I have more of a problem with the job title "Software Architect". They are simply very skilled software engineers. I have never heard of a very skilled chemical engineer being called a chemical architect.

                  Are the guys who spelled out IBM in individual atoms at least "Physics Architects"?

                • by steveg (55825)

                  Some special reason you're citing a yearly income for programmers but an hourly one for engineers?

                  Disregarding the amounts, it's been my experience that programmers are much more likely to be paid on an hourly basis than engineers. The magnitude of the two may be what you suggest, but the time base is most likely to be reversed.

                  In non-IT related fields, it's certainly the case that a tech is more likely to be an hourly employee than an engineer is.

                  • by ranton (36917)

                    To be honest, I originally posted hourly rates for both, then realized that salaries made more sense for both. I changed one, and forgot to change the other. Oops.

              • replying to my own post to efficiently respond to the four other responses: thanks for posting, all of you, the distinction is now a bit clearer for me, and I now realize it is not just an ego boost or merely marketing but serves some purpose
          • I can see where you are coming from, and have great sympathy. It is the whole 'sanitation engineer' joke over again.

            Around here we have 'technical specialists' 'senior technical specialists' 'analyst programmers' 'coders' 'business analysts' 'policy analysts'. You get the idea.

            If your role is 'coder' then you take documented IT Requirements and turn them into code, unit test, code review, and hand it off to Functional Test. This role may need to write or update Technical Specifications based on the IT Requi

    • by spxZA (996757)
      2 years ago I moved from digital broadcast media (web dev before that) to a financial data services company. It was a hell of a change, and there was a massive amount that I had to learn in the new domain. I now have gained that knowledge (not that I know everything about equities, warrants, ETFs, derivatives, and all the things these brokers make up every day to make them more money). But, I'm still a code monkey, still applying the same programming techniques and theory that I've learnt over the years. It
    • Add a me too to that. I jumped from a fairly scattered range of jobs to finacial services in Asia. There is a tremendous amount of work for developers in Hong Kong and other parts of China. The learning curve is steep but if I can do it at 40 pretty much anyone could. Almost doesn't need saying but most things are done with Java or Natural, knowing either of these will land you a job. As a foreigner experience tends to matter a lot more than a degree. Seems like a handshake and your word go a long way still

    • Here are my 2 cents. I have never worked directly with a Hong Kong bank, and programing is programing, but.

      3rd party data sources. You will be dealing with importing / exporting data from many different systems, all with their unique quirks. You may well be given relational data in the form of a Spreadsheet- hopefully it will be in csv. These “3rd” parties may be other departments. Banking and Brokerage software tend to be sold by different people and do not talk to each other.

      System of System

    • by davebooth (101350)
      I too have made the jump into that industry, and I would tell the OP that the key is looking for a position within it that needs the knowledge and analytical thought skills they have already developed. The finance industry is, in many ways, somewhat balkanized - there are developers and architects who speak a totally different language to bankers, accountants and fund managers and they in their turn are dealing with industry regulations that were written by lawyers rather than financial professionals. A goo
    • by sapgau (413511)

      Cool, thanks for offering which I'm taking the liberty to ask for suggestions...

      Is there are any literature that you would recommend to get that basic knowledge and help get the foot in the door?

      I would imagine it would be more about financials, terminology and practices and less about technology.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Many banks work through recruiting companies to hire IT folks out here.

    I have personally worked with Robert Walters to find IT work in a bank before and highly recommend them.

    You can apply directly, but in many cases positions aren't even advertised openly, only through recruiters...

    • Many banks work through recruiting companies to hire IT folks out here.

      I have personally worked with Robert Walters to find IT work...

      If you read the OP summary carefully, you'll see he has not one, but two computer science degrees, and he is interested in transitioning into finance. Where, exactly, did you get the impression he'd be interested in desktop support, or server or database administration? I honestly fail to see how computer practitioners can be deluded into thinking that what they do is somehow science or mathematics.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        I saw your irrelevant and pedantic reply on others as well. Are you an insecure CS major? computer science is IT work. Or are you saying " the scientific and mathematical approach to computation, and specifically to the design of computing machines and processes" is unrelated to information or technology?
        • by catmistake (814204) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:17AM (#40436673) Journal

          I saw your irrelevant and pedantic reply on others as well. Are you an insecure CS major? computer science is IT work. Or are you saying " the scientific and mathematical approach to computation, and specifically to the design of computing machines and processes" is unrelated to information or technology?

          You are mistaken. The posts I replied to are irrelevant because they were attempting to answer a question that was not asked. OP is not seeking an IT position. The distinction between IT and computer science is not pedantic, but considerable, and there is merit in understanding the difference. Yes, I am saying, as a systems administrator with 25 years of experience in IT, that what I do, and what my peers do, isn't science or mathematics, like, say, working in finance is. When I work for a bank or an investment firm, I don't say I work in finance... I'm still working in IT. OP's credentials vastly overqualify him for any position in IT, yet historically have shown to be applicable in modeling how investors allocate their assets over time under conditions of certainty and uncertainty, generally known as finance.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            I applied for a job once where I had moved and was taking a shotgun approach, including jobs I may not have liked or that I wasn't qualified for, little did I know I found both in the same crappy position. In 2001, with 10 years IT, I applied for an entry-level help desk position for a bank. I got a call from HR asking me to justify my experience as computer science equivalent. Apparently, the job required a minimum of a CS degree *and* 5 years experience. I had the opportunity to argue that 5 of my yea
            • I applied for a job once where I had moved and was taking a shotgun approach, including jobs I may not have liked or that I wasn't qualified for, little did I know I found both in the same crappy position. In 2001, with 10 years IT, I applied for an entry-level help desk position for a bank. I got a call from HR asking me to justify my experience as computer science equivalent. Apparently, the job required a minimum of a CS degree *and* 5 years experience. I had the opportunity to argue that 5 of my years in IT were CS equivalent so that I'd be eligible to progress my application to the hiring manager for consideration. I laughed and instructed HR lady to discard my application.

              I feel your pain! HR everywhere is diminishing the value of CS grads by requiring CS degrees for positions that have nothing to do with CS, and inexplicably scrutinizing technicians without such degrees. This is the fault of ignorance of what computer science is, and the fallicious assumption that a CS degree is required to be qualified to work in IT.

              What I do in IT now, with my BS in psychology and an MBA is computer science. And yes, it's also IT.

              Congratulations on merging two unrelated disciplines into a viable career.

              CS is a subset of IT.

              No! Computer Science is a subset of Mathematics. It is computer math.

              OP's credentials vastly overqualify him for any position in IT,

              Yeah, except for almost all of them. I'd trust a fresh MS CS to build a database language before I'd trust them to administer my database. They may know how it works and why, but they don't know best practices, regulatory requirements, and business processes. That takes experience, and is more valuable than just knowing how the dB works.

              Then you, to

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                No! Computer Science is a subset of Mathematics. It is computer math.

                You are wrong. I'm not sure why you are so adamant about posting the same incorrect thing repeatedly, but even those "selling" CS degrees claim it to be a subset of IT. Every science is a subset of math. Biology is a subset of chemistry. Chemistry is a subset of physics. Physics is a subset of math. But you are asserting that a chemist working on die fabs *can't* be in "IT" because math isn't a subset of IT. It's an irrelevant point thats simply wrong. CS is an intersection of IT and math. If it was

                • No! Computer Science is a subset of Mathematics. It is computer math.

                  You are wrong.

                  I'm certain that I am not.

                  I'm not sure why you are so adamant about posting the same incorrect thing repeatedly,

                  I'm not sure why you are being so stubborn about your own false preconceptions about what things are, but the posts I have made contain the truth of the matter, not by what human resources designates these disciplines as, but by the academic institutions that offer their study.

                  but even those "selling" CS degrees claim it to be a subset of IT.

                  This might be true in admissions, but the admissions department is not the computer science department.

                  Every science is a subset of math. Biology is a subset of chemistry. Chemistry is a subset of physics. Physics is a subset of math.

                  While true, it would be more correct to say every science is reducible to math, as biology is reducib

                  • by AK Marc (707885)

                    the admissions department is not the computer science department.

                    I didn't read past this, and won't read your response, if any. This is a great example of your idiocy. The admissions department is in the computer science department. Each college handles its own admissions. It may not be that way at the community college you had a friend go to once, but it was that way at the two universities I went to for my undergrad and masters, and so your sweeping generalizations are wrong on this, like everything else. You have been wrong on every point so far, and on this one

                    • Your astounding ignorance is only overshadowed by the readily verifiable innacuracy of your misguided beliefs and your impressive ability to confabulate. Your impotence to provide any rational statements that counter my own is underscored by your inevitable and predictable ad hominem insults. Employing fallacy in a perverse attempt to make some insignificant point serves only to weaken your already immaterial argument.
            • I applied for a job once where I had moved and was taking a shotgun approach, including jobs I may not have liked or that I wasn't qualified for, little did I know I found both in the same crappy position. In 2001, with 10 years IT, I applied for an entry-level help desk position for a bank. I got a call from HR asking me to justify my experience as computer science equivalent. Apparently, the job required a minimum of a CS degree *and* 5 years experience. I had the opportunity to argue that 5 of my years in IT were CS equivalent so that I'd be eligible to progress my application to the hiring manager for consideration. I laughed and instructed HR lady to discard my application.
              p>

              well that is why we need more tech school / classes in smaller chunks or maybe even a badges systems.

              As CS is to much top level theory. Now some theory is nice to have but for MOST jobs in IT it is overkill with a BIG skills gap. Now tech schools have better class loads but are still tied to the size fit's all over all college plans and community colleges do have drop In classes that can be taken non degree.

              Now there has to be some way to have some kind of IT class load that has a few differnt tracks, setu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:06AM (#40436197)

    You could just stay at home, fake an illness and collect welfare.

    In that way you'd still be a dishonest leech but at least you'd only be taking a small amount from those who are either productive or in need.

  • No way (Score:2, Funny)

    by 1u3hr (530656)

    Since I got my B.S. and M.S. both in computer science, I have no idea what those 'Wall Street jobs' are like,

    And you never will. What makes you think you can get hired in the financial industry with zero knowledge or experience? Just the desire to get rich isn't good enough .

    Also, in Hong Kong, foreigners don't get a work visa without the employer making a case you have unique skills that a local doesn't. You seem to have none. Your wife can sponsor you for residency, not employment.

    Since you're coming to Hong Kong, hang around in the bars in Lan Kwai Fong and try to ingratiate yourself with some suits, maybe

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and read "Jobs For Greeks In the Business/Financial World?"

  • Hong Kong (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:09AM (#40436217)

    I live in HK, and unfortunately the bottom line is that you're going to find this difficult. Finance companies/banks are your best bet for a job by far, especially if you don't speak Chinese, but they are firing at the moment (much of it under the radar) not hiring. A few friends here want to make a similar transition and have not so far achieved success. This is even for techie areas like high frequency trading.

    If you have time on your hands while you're here, consider taking a finance course and do check out our HK hackerspace, Dim Sum Labs (www.dimsumlabs.com). You will meet people in the same situation.

    Best of luck.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used to work in the Bay Area, now I live in Hong Kong. I am self-employed because the job offerings here are not up to par with what I am used to. My friend is an engineering manager at huge bank, so I know a bit.

      All the banks here are cutting staff, benefits and pay. If you are lucky to find a job in software field, it will be at a fraction of what you get in the Bay Area. You will be expected to work overtime every day, 6 days a week.

      If you really want to come here, best to be a house man. Your wife a b

    • by Luyseyal (3154)

      Blinking text? Really? Ye gads, man!

      -l

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:09AM (#40436223)

    get a job with more dignity and less shame, rent-boy for example.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:14AM (#40436237)

    You should be looking at a job in the PR industry, seeing you have the knack for it. Getting your job seeking ad published on slashdot is not bad.

    Well Played, Sir.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:16AM (#40436243)

    That's what the business/financial folks read. It will give you a feel for the terrain that you will be trekking through. It's good to be able to converse in the language of the natives. Just like IT has its specific issue areas, business/financial has them as well.

    And it's fun to read and informative, as well.

  • Sadly... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:29AM (#40436277)
    I think the fact that you are posting this on Slashdot more or less rules you out of getting a job in this area.

    That said, how is your knowledge of statistics, probability theory, game theory and/or real time computing? Finance is basically applied maths with a good dollop of psychology and an understanding of self-promotion. This is as true now as it was in the 14th century. If you want to succeed as a designer of upmarket sports cars, expertise in the design of sparking plugs is possibly not the best starting point.

    • Re:Sadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gutnor (872759) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:13AM (#40436431)

      What are you talking about ? The very vast majority of IT in the Finance world is just your vanilla application. CRUD stuff, Integration, and all sorts of data mangling back and forth between systems. As in any industry you will need some business knowledge to complement you tech knowledge. You do not need a PhD in "Math with Applied Bullshit" to enter finance.

      There is literally an army of development jobs in the financial sector. Lots of interesting stuff lost in a sea of boring assignments in team stuck in management and technical paralysis. i.e. like working for any large company.

      The vast minority of people that work in finance are psychopathic moron that make millions in bonus each year. There are quite a lot of 20 something that are psychopathic moron but make nothing at all, but the majority of people that fill those huge skyscrappers are just normal Joe doing normal office job.

      • very vast majority of IT in the Finance world

        This will now be my fourth post pondering the same cognitive mistake. The OP isn't looking for an IT position. I'm not sure from where that assumption came. He has computer science degrees, and wishes to seek a career in finance. He is not a technician looking to break-in to another space that, of course, uses computers and thus needs IT support. I read the summary to mean: "I'm a computer math guy looking for a money math career." GP's post is germane, and yours is wrong-headed.

        • by gutnor (872759)

          I read the summary to mean: "I'm a computer math guy looking for a money math career."

          From the summary, he is a software engineer, working in a software company in the Bay area with a master in CS and asking the question on slashdot. That very strongly hint to something like "I'm a software developer looking to develop software in the finance sector." As a software developer that made the switch into finance myself, I asked the same question and gave the answer right there in my post in addition of replying to the GP.

          Just to summarize, although software in bank deal with money, they are s

    • Hold it there, please. Many of the core, better paying computer related jobs in finance are not in fiscal analysis. They're in support technologies, such as storage, low latency networking, and virtualization. If our original poster wants to get into the data analysis part of the work, he's got a good start with two degrees, but that field is dominated by very educated people in business theory and statistics. It's also where the criminal and insider trading part of finance starts to become common, and it's

      • by iserlohn (49556)

        Actually the best paid computing work in Finance is still to do with the analysis and programming around trading. There are hard problems to be solved. Whether that is happening in HK (compared to London and New York) is debatable. IT in finance is well paid, but doesn't hold a candle to what geeks can make in algorithmic trading. The FGPA developments are interesting, but what they are actually doing is basically reimplement the the software in the FGPA (including the networking stack!), and the FGPA doesn

      • better paying computer related jobs in finance are not in fiscal analysis. They're in support technologies,

        If the jobs are in support technologies, then those are support technology jobs regardless of where they are, not "computer related jobs in finance," if such a thing even exists, the description you give it is bound to confuse. You obviously understand the difference between finance and computer support, but I'm uncertain if, like others posting answers to the wrong question, that you see that computer science is tremendously applicable to the science of finance and the maths involved there. With two degree

  • Different firms, different departments, can have wildly different needs. Some areas may need hot coding skills, low latency, high performance, networked and quick turnaround on changes. Some may need database work, configuration of 3rd party packages, integration with those packages and these might be turned around more slowly under strict change conditions. Some roles may be reporting based and hence have deadlines that simply cannot be broken because figures need to go to regulators or central banks.

  • by catmistake (814204) on Monday June 25, 2012 @04:45AM (#40436331) Journal
    In the movie Margin Call [imdb.com], based loosely on the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the character Peter Sullivan, played by Zachary Quinto, was a math guy (like all true computer scientists) that successfully crossed over to the finance world. Unfortunately, he was also the character that figured out what the man he replaced had figured out, which is that the global economy was going to collapse the following day. Are you sure you're up for that kind of thing?
  • China is dynamic and hungry for all kinds of talent. Keep your eyes and your mind open. Take a job and see where it leads. Education for example is a good intro. You have the qualifications to teach at University. You will meet people. Stuff will happen. I went to China to teach English. Within 2 months I was teaching gnu/linux/open source stuff. I'm sure more would have happened if they hadn't refused me a visa. Have fun. Watch out for the government thugs. Don't trust anyone. Yikes.
    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      Watch out for the government thugs. Don't trust anyone.

      Hong Kong civil servants are well-paid, blinkered bureaucrats. Mostly honest and some helpful. Not thugs. Mainland China is still very different from Hong Kong.

    • China is dynamic and hungry for all kinds of talent.

      True, but unfortunately, the author is not the kind China is looking for

      China looks for talents who are pro-active, who do not wait for others to hire him

      The talents China really wants are those who can add to what China offers, not those who rely on whatever China has

      I know what I am talking about - I have businesses in China
       

  • Alcohol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kagetsuki (1620613) on Monday June 25, 2012 @05:38AM (#40436519)

    Learn to drink. Don't turn down a drink. Take people you want to deal with out to drink. Read the air, act appropriately.

    Other than that I don't think you need any particular business knowledge. From what I've gathered is that CN/HK/TW business revolves completely about being an awesome drunk.

  • Required reading.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I made the jump and it was pretty painless. Read "Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives" by John C Hull to get an idea for the maths required. It's the best book for maths oriented comp-scis to read.

    The only problem I've found is this: if you're a software guy at a software company you're doing the "core business", but being a software guy at a finance company you're not. It means that good software is not always the priority.

    Also, if you work for a large bank, the failure rate of software projects can b

  • I can help (Score:5, Informative)

    by kTag (24819) <pierren @ m a c . c om> on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:03AM (#40436617)

    Maybe it's irony, but moderating +5 Informative something like "reading The Economist" is showing something about the current Slashdot, why not the Wall Street Journal right? There is "Wall Street" in the name it must be good to get a finance job!! Yes it's the usual rant.

    Anyway, I've been in IT finance for the past 7 years, one of the main european financial institution.
    I can code but I'm no math head and have no special social skills (appart from applying good advices you can find from trustful resources that you should already know). I've been expat in 3 different countries and I'm now in Singapore, moved to project manager 4 years ago and soon getting a nice promotion to switch to accounting control. I bet you don't understand how that can be a promotion, I wouldn't have either 7 years ago.
    But outside this, if you can code, you know how the various business of retail or investment bank are working and you did bet on the right technology you'll find a job easily. Here it's all Java if you want to have a nice job. Short term, low budget crap is using PHP/Whatever tech being evaluated at the moment.

    One warning though, this investment bank is very conservative, that is I'm typing this on a WinXP cousin made for the bank and have no idea if or when we'll switch to something more actual. New technology get about 3 or 4 years approval time, so you either stick with standards (IBM, Oracle) or you can forget about the latest fun technology for your time spent in the office.
    Outside this small detail, I obviously love this job and the people here and all over the countries I've been sent to.

    And please, prepare properly for interviewing and do you research before contacting me, if you are interested.

  • by rig_uh (1733306) on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:11AM (#40436651)
    I did the same thing around five years ago. Am still in Hong Kong and still employed (for now), but we've been shedding staff for years and like most financial services companies are probably not going on a hiring spree any time soon. Having said that, I still see jobs posted occasionally.

    Track down the recruiters here - they shouldn't be too hard to find. Somebody mentioned Robert Walters which is a good start, maybe also Aston Carter and Chandler Macleod. Recruiters seem to find me on LinkedIn pretty regularly but that's probably because I've built up a network of other people in the industry.

    Might be tough also as they generally prefer people with industry experience, and there are plenty of them on the market given recent layoffs, so competition will be fierce. Might be better outside of financial services but I kind of doubt it.

    For me - I got a job with a consulting company whose client was an investment bank, so got my foot in the door for a job I probably wouldn't normally have been considered for. Once I had the experience (there's a lot to get used to) I switched to working for the client. Probably difficult to emulate but you never know. I initially got offered a job at a blue chip consulting company at a terrible rate, but ended up at an obscure one at a merely not-so-great rate. It eventually improved but you might want to lower your expectations in advance. At least the tax is low (although if you're American I guess you get screwed on paying US tax anyway) although housing is nuts.

    Oh, and Hong Kong and mainland China are like two different countries. You can pretty much ignore any advice which relates to the latter. Hong Kong is a very easy place to live in - I love it. People generally struggle more in the mainland. However, if your wife is in Hong Kong you could consider working in Shenzen, over the border, although might be tough to pull off (and the commute to see eachother would be unpleasant).
  • Don't get too hung up on the whole 'financial' stuff. Just like in any industry today, the IT jobs in Financial industry are really diverse - GUI expert, Customer Web Portal developer, data mining, real-time statistical analysis, system administration, IT security expertise, even low level parallel programming (to squeeze every drop of processor juice out of those High Frequency Trading machines).

    So just concentrate on your strengths and look for the kind of job that best fits your experience. Knowing somet

  • Since I got my B.S. and M.S. both in computer science, I have no idea what those 'Wall Street jobs' are like, so I'm just wondering what you guys know about jobs in the business/financial world for geeks? Has anybody made the jump before?"

    FWIW, my first job was at a financial/insurance institution, very business-like. Surprisingly, they gave me a chance to work as a systems analysts and programmer with only a AA degree. The institution didn't give college reimbursement except for business majors, but OTH, they were quite flexible with work schedules, and they threw several thousands of dollars on me in training. Other than my current employer, that financial/insurance company was the only one that ever pay for my training (and its employee's

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 25, 2012 @06:49AM (#40436803)

    Ok, before I set off on a rant, I'd like to point out that, unlike most of the posters here, I actually work in the industry you are trying to break into. I have been a software engineer (contract) in the finance industry for about six years now, most of that in London, where I live now. I can tell you it is not a piece of cake to break into the industry, but it is possible, and well worth it to do so. It's difficult to get in for the following reasons:

    1) They often "require" business experience. In theory, this means that the will want to see evidence that you've worked in finance before, vis-a-vis a job on your CV for some sort of bank or related institution. Depending on the specific job, they may ask you questions in the techical interview to ascertain your level of experience, knowledge of algorithms and financial math, etc.

    2) There have been a number of layoffs in the sector recently, which means there is a bit of a glut in IT staff right now, all of whom have more experience than you.

    HOWEVER, you must read this with a grain of salt. As with any endeavor, things are often more subtle in practice. Bear these facts in mind:

    1) Many of the people on the bench right now, a.k.a. your competition, were let go for a reason. The financial sector attracts many for the very lucrative salaries, but not all of these people are really that good. Every so often, the banks go through a house-cleaning phase to get rid of the dead wood. Many of these people don't interview well, and are not able to perform well on technical tests. As someone who interviews and hires many developers for our team, I can attest that there are some very poor candidates out there. Many of them got in during the earlier boom, when banks hired anyone and everyone. Some people just weren't cut out for the job, though. I'm constantly being told by recruiters, "There are plenty of candidates, but it's hard to find GOOD ones."

    2) Many people are leaving the industry. Frustrated by the recent downturn, byzantine immigration policies, rethinking their life goals, or whatever, thousands of people are turning their back on the finance industry, or even IT in general. Those who stick it out are rewarded.

    3) It wouldn't be any easier to transition into another industry, either. It's always difficult jumping onto another ship. The trick is getting that first job. Once you learn the lingo, a bit of the business, and make contacts, it gets much easier.

    4) Not all banks require experience. Bearing point 1, above, in mind, I personally know a lot of managers who don't care a bit whether someone has experience in banking or finance. They want good developers first and foremost, and view any business experience as a bonus. Most of my job is just good software development practice, coupled with algorithms and data structures. I rarely need to know anything about how the business works, or I'm capable of learning it in a short time. Most good managers want people who can learn, not those who know it all already. Also bear in mind that finance is not as hard as most people like to make out. ;-)

    5) Many banks over-cleaned, and now need to hire people back. Since a lot of folk have left the industry, that can be harder than it seems. Again, despite the glut of developers, there is a dearth of good talent.

    6) Permanent jobs are better for first-timers. Many will try to step into the contract world immediately. The reason for this is the contractors running a limited company make far more than our permanent counterparts - as much as 40-50% more when tax savings are factored in. This used to be easy to do from the get-go, and I admit to being one of these folk. However, if you've never worked contract, never been in the finance industry, and/or have less than 10 years' overall experience in I.T., my advice is to start off permanent. Get some good experience, as little as 2-3 years, and then decide if contract is right for you. (Then you can make the big bucks.

  • by Skythe (921438) on Monday June 25, 2012 @07:11AM (#40436919)
    Get yourself involved in some Corporate Performance Management stuff (specifically OLAP). This is the perfect intersection of IT and Business/Finance. Think Oracle Hyperion, IBM Cognos TM1, etc. Guys I work with (not me) are currently putting this stuff in at our clients - even the guys without the technical know-how (e.g. they still have finance/technical backgrounds but don't actually build it) have a role in navigating/deciphering and translating whatever bunch of Excel models and disparate systems into Functional Requirements, which get built into Multidimensional structures by the technical guys. I'd start by looking for companies that do this type of stuff - the role name could be anything from Solution Architect to Consultant. Good luck!
  • I work in the industry. Stock exchanges (and futures, options etc) and investors use a variety of protocols to distribute stock prices and accept orders and there is a huge variety of middleware and endware involved.

    Learn about the FIX protocol, learn about the basics of multicast binary protocols, and learn a bit about how basic stock trading works (or indeed even just namedrop all those things during an interview) and all other things being equal you should be able to get a job working on or with such sof

  • If you're well and truly qualified, there are plenty of jobs in CS. Off the top of my head know that Jane Street (trading company) has an office in Hong Kong; it's a popular thing to do, because it lets these companies have somebody on-the-job 24 hours/day.
  • Are you switching because you want to, or solely because of the move?

    Why not just keep your current job, but work remotely? Or, if your current employer is not smart enough to allow that, find a job with an international company that cares more about what you do than where you happen to live.

  • by Pigeon451 (958201) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:41AM (#40437955)

    Based on your submitted text, you might want to work on your English skills if you want to work in the business field. English is very common in HK (other languages are definitely an asset). Lack of language skills is generally ignored (and accepted) in IT, but you better be able to write properly in business.

  • 1- Don't presume before hand that the job market for CS is bad there, it's entirely possible the job market of Finance might be even worse. Get some concrete data.

    2-Do outsourced programming work. If slashdot is any guide, the biggest problem with outsourcing is quality assurance. Since you are already an American, with American degrees and American experience, your repute will be much higher. Make some contacts in your place, and ask them to email their projects to HK.

    3- Go the middle route; mix CS with Fi

  • For quite some time there has been a serious push to use quantitative analysis to drive decisions. I know this is contrary to the 'Wall Street Gambler' picture that pops into people's heads so frequently, but it really is the truth. High frequency trading operations are a perfect (if not well loved) example.

    I'm not in high frequency trading, but I do work for a large financial services company. We frequently look for people with very strong skills in data analysis and then have to help them develop their

  • "Wall St" is a tremendous beast, and fortunately for you, the biggest banks have larger "IT" departments than major software companies. I put IT in quotes, because in general, I think of IT as being the networking/desktop support guys, not developers, but on Wall St, developers are considered IT. Most jobs need no real financial experience, you are just building a web app or piece of infrastructure, and in the case of real IT jobs, you are just building infrastructure like any other- a network on a trading

  • I read and enjoyed "My life as a quant" [amazon.com], by Emanuel Derman.
  • http://ask.slashdot.org/story/12/05/29/176252/ask-slashdot-find-a-job-in-china-for-non-native-speaker [slashdot.org]

    I'd suggest sticking to your field and getting a job with a big U.S. player with offices in Hong Kong, Both Google and IBM have offices there, although IBM has many more openings posted at the moment.

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